Seven months ago, I talking about how I managed to come by a couple of Frizzle-crosses at a pet shop in the suburbs.
Well, half a year later, said Frizzle-crosses have begun their life of duty breeding pretty chickens for me, so I thought I’d share some pictures of the resultant troublemakers.
Roy is the father of all of the chicks pictured; Dorcha is the mother of one, while Popcorn is the mother of one and Charlotte Junior is the mother of two.
Charlotte Junior and Popcorn pictured here. Charlotte Junior’s grandmother was a bantam cross with some negligible Silkie blood somewhere – I don’t know who her other ancestors have been since I’m sure that line of hens has just been cloning itself from generation to generation, but her father must be either Graham (an Araucana cross) or George (3/4 barred Plymouth Rock, 1/4 Australorp). Popcorn had an Araucana grandmother, as well as some white Leghorn and ISA Brown ancestors along the way.
Here’s a picture of how Roy’s grown up:
Roy and Dorcha are much more bantam-sized than any other Sizzles/Frizzles I’ve had, so while Dorcha is the teensiest-tiniest little grown-up chook I’ve ever seen (seriously, she’s almost as small as a quail and lays eggs about that size, too), Roy is about the same size as his other wives. All his other girls are definitely on the smaller side of things, maybe a little smaller than a rescue ISA but definitely much smaller than my large-fowl girls.
Keep the picture of Roy in mind as you read, along with the phrase “spawn of Roy”.
So, first, Popcorn’s two children:
Lucky (on the left) and Surprise (in the foreground of the right, with Lucky in the back). Yes, there’s a story behind those names.
On the right, that’s Lucky at the top and Surprise at the bottom; on the left, it’s Lucky in the foreground and Surprise behind.
What did I say? Spawn of Roy.
Okay, so that’s Lucky in the foreground, and you can already see her wing-feathers coming in curly, but my sister’s holding Dimity in the background.
I’m not sure how we came up with the name “Dimity”. My sister was calling her “Don Gato” for a while (because she’s “a cat of sooty black”, apparently), but my mother came up with Dimity – I suspect as a back-spelling of “timid”, which she was. She was the scardiest chick I’ve ever known, although she’s grown out of that now. Because of the timidity and fluffiness, we suspected that she would be a Super-Frizzle (quick genetics lesson later), but her feathers have come in normal-Frizzle.
Dodgy lighting – sorry. She’s developing a rather fetching gold lacing around the neck and chest area, though, which you can sort of see in this photo.
And, of course, Dorcha’s child:
We have no idea where all that white’s come from, given her parents; but then, both of them are only first-generation ours, so we don’t know what any of her further-back ancestors looked like. She looks almost barred; she was a pure-black chick, with grey legs, and then suddenly in the last few days, it’s pink legs and white spots. Go figure.
She’s almost certainly a Sizzle, though – just look at those corkscrew feathers! On the other hand, she might be a Super-Frizzle, although her feathers don’t seem ringleted enough for that. Here’s the Punnet Square:
This is for the breeding together of two Frizzles, where F is the dominant frizzle gene and n is the recessive normal-feather gene. 50% will be Frizzles, 25% will be normal, and 25% will be Super-Frizzles, which is generally regarded as a bad idea because they’d usually very timid and may have other medical issues (we had one a number of years ago which honestly did die of fright; but the medical issues aren’t as dangerous as, for example, two genes for head-puffs in ducks). Frizzle-breeders usually breed them to normal-feathered birds, both to increase size and laying capacity and because the percentage of Frizzled chicks will be the same. Because of this, Frizzle is really more of a genetic trait than an actual breed, since there are no hard-and-fast breed characteristics other than curled feathers (e.g. comb, colour, &c.).
This is the punnet square we’ve hypothesised for Squeaky, since Dorcha also has the very soft, fairly tightly-curled feathers of a Sizzle. Again, F is the dominant frizzle gene, n is the recessive normal-feather gene, and S is the dominant Silkie gene. According to this diagramme, 25% each should be Super-Frizzle, Sizzle, Frizzle, and Silkie, although Super-Frizzle and Sizzle phenotypes are very similar in appearance. Actually, it’s amazing that all four of Roy’s children are frizzled since technically it should only be 50%. But then, it’s not a very large sample sizes.
Not many aspects of chicken genetics are as straightforward as the feather type – I have no idea how the number of toes is determined, for example. Lucky has half a fifth toe (separate only at the last joint) on one foot, while neither of her parents have Silkie toes and her aunt had even less of a fifth toe, again on only one foot.
She’s also tiny.
With Dimity on the left and on the top right, and with Surprise on the bottom right. She’s the same age as Dimity and a day younger than Surprise. Considering the size of the eggs they hatched from, as well as the size of Squeaky’s mother, it’s not surprising that she’s so tiny!
Dimity and Lucky are beginning to look a bit like boys around the combe, but it’s too early to really tell.
Oh, and just for interest, compare Lucky, Surprise and Dimity to this picture of Roy, Dorcha, and Nora at seven weeks: